Research we're watching
Couples sometimes worry about restarting sexual activity after one partner has had a heart attack. But a new study has found that returning to usual levels of sexual activity within a few months of a heart attack is linked to improved survival.
The study, published online Sept. 23, 2020, by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, included 495 sexually active people who were hospitalized for a first heart attack in 1992 or 1993. All of them were 65 or younger (the average age was 53) and 90% were men.
After a median follow-up of 22 years, 43% of the participants had died. People who maintained or increased the frequency of their sexual activity within the first six months after a heart attack had a 35% lower risk of death compared with people who abstained or reduced their sexual activity. The results may reflect other factors associated with improved health, such as better fitness and a good relationship with one's spouse, the study authors note. Still, the findings should help allay fears about resuming sex after recovering from a heart attack.
Image: © monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.